Most Gulf stock markets closed lower today, Tuesday, tracking their global peers, as weak economic growth in China renewed recession fears, but UAE stocks continued to rise.
European stocks cut off their New Year’s rally and Asian stocks fell after data showed Chinese economic growth slowed in 2022 to one of its lowest levels in nearly half a century.
The production of Chinese oil refineries decreased in 2022 by 3.4% on an annual basis, in its first annual decline since 2001, but the rate of oil utilization in refineries in December rose to its second highest level in 2022.
But the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said today, Tuesday, that Chinese oil demand will rebound this year thanks to the easing of restrictions related to Covid-19 in the country, adding that it will lead global growth. OPEC was also optimistic about the outlook for the global economy in 2023.
The main index of the Saudi market fell 0.4%, with shares of Retal Urban Development declining 0.8%, while the share of the Arab National Bank continued to decline for the third session, to close down 4%, but the share of oil giant Aramco recovered from its losses by rising 0.2%.
Financial market analyst Hamad Al-Olayan said that the markets are sensitive and anticipate all news, pointing to the significant increase in the Saudi stock market index since the beginning of the year.
Olayan said in an interview with “Al-Arabiya” that “the big rise came with the rebellion of some companies, and this does not mean a real rebellion … or real rises … and what happened was a pre-emption of some positive news, including inflation data.”
He pointed out that there are psychological factors affecting the movement of participants in the Saudi market.
He explained that the state of uncertainty has dissipated, but it is actually confirmed in the monthly data issued in the next two months, which will confirm the health of the markets and is it good for investment and a return once again to the upward path?
Olayan added that the markets are anticipating what is happening in Davos amid a large gathering of ministers of finance and industry and central bank governors around the world, pointing out that every statement and statement issued by Davos gives an indication of what will happen during the current year.
Meanwhile, Renault and Chinese automaker Geely are working on an agreement to include Aramco as an investor and partner in the development and supply of gasoline engines and hybrid technology.
In Abu Dhabi, the index rose 0.1%, with the shares of First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest bank in the Emirates, rising 0.4%, and Fertiglobe Fertilizers Company rising 2.2%.
The Dubai market index increased 0.7%, supported by a 5% rise in Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation, and a 3.5% rise in Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).
The Qatari market index fell 2.2%, extending its losses for the sixth session in a row, with most of the stocks listed on the index falling, led by Qatar National Bank, the largest Gulf bank, which plunged 2.5%, and with Qatar Islamic Bank falling 3.2%.
Outside the Gulf region, the Egyptian blue-chip index rose 0.9%, continuing its rise since last Wednesday.